Synthetic cannabinoids manufactured under different brand names, such as Spice, Kronic, Northern Lights, Blue Lotus, and others, are man-made psychoactive chemicals. Because of the similarity of these substances’ effects to those of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), they are often called “synthetic marijuana” or “fake pot.” However, as they affect the brain’s THC receptors more strongly, synthetic weed dangers are many times more serious than those caused by cannabis. Most people have no idea how these synthetic drugs are affecting millions of us.
The chemicals may be sprayed on dried plant materials so people can smoke them, sold as liquids to be vaporized in e-cigarettes, or sometimes offered to be consumed as tea.
Very often, the ingredients of these mind-altering chemicals are described as “herbal,” but in fact, you will not find any cannabis there.
The effects of synthetic cannabis depend on a number of factors, such as: a person’s health, size, and weight; the amount of chemicals taken; whether they are taken together with other drugs, especially crystal methamphetamine, and ecstasy, or alcohol.
People using synthetic chemicals say that they experience relaxation, elevated mood, psychosis symptoms, altered perception—effects similar to those produced by weed.
But there are some more severe, negative, and life-threatening effects of synthetic cannabinoids on the users’ health, such as:
Rapid heart rate and irregular heart beat
High blood pressure
Pain in the chest
As a number of spice deaths have already been registered, it is very important to call the ambulance immediately if the user has chest pain, breathing difficulties, increased heart rate or delusional behavior.
In a number of cases, the use of synthetic cannabinoids is strictly prohibited. They should not be used when a person:
Mixes chemicals with alcohol or other drugs;
Operates heavy machinery;
Has mental health and heart problems;
Needs medical assistance.
Fake marijuana can be addictive. People wishing to give up smoking it may have such withdrawal symptoms as increased heartbeat, insomnia, panic attacks, paranoia, agitation, irritability, and anxiety.
To avoid the risk of dependence on spice, it is recommended to take regular breaks from smoking and not to use it a lot.